Jeff Humphrey

Most Scenic Job Site in Spokane

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308

Friday, May 26, 2023 at 4:08 p.m.

It’s surely the most scenic job site in Spokane right now.

Crews are working to replace the southern pedestrian bridge in Riverfront Park, right on top of some Class VI water.

“Man if you were here last week, watching them putting up this scaffolding, you would have seen those guys were soaked in that process. So, it was really cool to the see the contractor diligently working right on top of the river when it was ripping at 25 thousand, or more, CFS,” (cubic feet per second) said Nick Hamad, Director of Planning and Development for Spokane Parks and Rec.

“Oh yeah, the whole center span of the bridge was completely soaked, which was quite refreshing for the temperatures that we had,” added Adam Castle, an employee of Garco Construction.

Contractors are working both above and below the bridge. Scaffolding prevents demolition debris from falling into the river.

Two summers ago, Castle was renovating the pedestrian bridge to the north.

“Most definitely, it’s much more exciting. A lot more action on this side. Little more high profile than last time and it’s cool to be able to redo a piece of the history of Spokane,” Castle said of working above the torrents of water in the southern channel.

But, preserving the pathways erected for Expo 74’ has its challenges. Suspension cables block the use of a crane.

So, all materials coming on or off the bridge have to be carried by hand or, something called a gantry.

“So, Garco came up with the ingenious solution to use a gantry. Which is a set of steel crossbeams above the actual bridge itself, mounted to the bridge. It allows them to cable things on and off the bridge, without the use of a crane,” explained Hamad.

“So, we’ll completely remove the deck, restore the hand rails, reinstall that. Completely remove all the conduit below the deck that carries power to the North Bank of the river and then, breathe another 50 years of life into this product,” Hamad predicted.

Bridge construction will wrap up later this fall and so, when Spokane begins celebrating Expo’s 50th anniversary, these twin legacies of the World’s Fair will be looking better than ever.

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